The Academy in Free Fall

October 30, 2010

Written by Big Raddy

West Ham United at home. I love this fixture, a love going back to the ‘60’s when the East Enders brought a frisson of passion and violence both on and off the pitch.

West Ham. Take a moment, what do they mean to you? To me, the name evokes a different era – The Academy, The Famous Three, The Chicken Run, Ron Greenwood, The Inner City Firm (hooligans), I’m forever Blowing Bubbles, Trevor Brooking’s header in the 1980 FA Cup Final. And my mate Fat Bob, who has endured 40 years of hurt.

The current Hammers are in trouble; no money, a poor team held together by the excellent Scott Parker, and a likeable but hands-tied  manager. I fully expect them to be relegated this season in the wake of the financial meltdown of the club. No money means a poor squad, and the young talent developed in the Academy has yet to have an impact upon the team. “And like my dreams they fade and die” ….. because this afternoon we will assist in West Ham’s decent towards the Championship

We go into the game on a fine run of form. Clean sheets, loads of goals from a variety of scorers, playing superb football and yet with that traditional Arsenal fragility that has you biting your nails until we get at least a 2 goal cushion. And (whisper it) we have a goalkeeper in form. – make that 2 goalkeepers in form. Chesney was superb at Newcastle and staked his claim, but Fabiansky has been very solid and finally deserves his starting place. Could Almunia have played his last game for us? I doubt it, AW is a very loyal man and Almunia, despite being in my opinion a poor GK, has done little wrong this season (little, not nothing !!)

No Jack today. Nor the unlucky Gibbs. It is a hard team to pick. With the return of Koscielny, will JD return to the bench or the older Squillaci? And who will play upfront? Two goals in two games for Bendtner, Theo looking very dangerous and confident after his brace at Toon, Chamakh consistently scoring. It is difficult to imagine all 3 starting, thoough AW will have a good idea as to whether NB can play with Chamakh. Could Chamakh play left side and NB in the middle with Theo on the right? And what happens when RvP returns?

In midfield despite no Jack, we are so strong. Denilson has played very well in his last two appearances and is pushing for a starting place. I expect Rosicky to get a rest after Weds, and Arshavin to start following his rest.

My team:

We have an embarrassment of riches 🙂

Barak Obama is a confirmed West Ham fan (wiki) having been a supporter since 2003. And according to the Daily Mirror, so is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.  Not sure how many games they go to !

This is another must-win game for us. We cannot afford to drop points at home against relegation fodder.